Situation analysis of population ageing in the Arab countries: the way forward towards implementation of MIPAA

Situation analysis of population ageing in the Arab countries: the way forward towards implementation of MIPAA

Responses to the ageing challenge in the Arab region

With a focus on the Madrid Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), this paper analyses the ageing challenge with particular reference to Arab societies. It reviews government actions towards the action plan’s implementation and presents priority directions based on achievements and challenges so far.

Demographic trends indicate that the older segment of population throughout the world is increasing both in absolute number and as a proportion of the total population. The unique feature of this ageing process in developing countries in general, and the Arab countries in particular, has been its rapid pace, outstripping the skeleton social and welfare support mechanisms that have existed in some. Given the limited resources and the absence of safety nets, the ageing process in Arab countries is facing far greater demands and challenges than in developed countries.

Key issues identified by this paper are presented alongside relevant recommendations. These include:

  • economic security and development - in order to be effective, social policies for the older population have to be articulated in an integrated manner and need to be supported by a coalition of social and political forces, involving governments, the private sector and civil society
  • promoting, maintaining and advancing health and well-being in old age - public policies and comprehensive approaches to reduce and eliminate health inequity should be made on the basis of evidence that they improve the absolute and relative health across societies the social spectrum
  • enabling and supportive environment - in case of disability, structural changes need to be introduced in the built environment for autonomous living. Governments need to provide older persons with credit facilities in order to enable them to make alterations to their homes
  • active participation of older persons in development processes - ageing-related plans and policies must be re-oriented in recognition of the fact that such persons are productive elements and valuable social and human capital. Ageing must be considered as a type of ongoing investment
  • mainstreaming older persons concerns in development processes- awareness raising and advocacy is needed for political visibility and attention to older persons' concerns in the development agenda. A 'society for all ages' and 'inter-generational solidarity' ought to be utilised as guiding principles to endorse the conviction that mainstreaming the concerns of older persons will benefit all age groups within society